by Nicholas Sparks
Narrator: Christopher Ryan Grant
Length: 14 hours and 23 minutes
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups
See me just as I see you . . .Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he's determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship. Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed. A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria's lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria's past begin to surface. As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria's life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they've begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour? Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, SEE ME reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize.
See Me by Nicholas Sparks is a romantic suspense that is heavy on the suspense, but offers up a sweet romance with character growth for our somewhat gruff but likable hero. Narrated by Christopher Ryan Grant See Me began slowly and had a few bumps but ultimately was a listen that kept me engaged.
See Me is a departure from the tear-inducing novels that Sparks typically writes and I appreciated the mystery, thriller and suspense angles. While I pieced together things, thanks to some carefully placed clues I nonetheless enjoyed both the characters and the twists.
A chance encounter has Colin Hancock and Maria Sánchez meeting and thanks to the help of another character, these two meet yet again and begin a friendship that quickly moves to romance. These two are opposites, and I loved the slow-paced romance.
Colin Hancock is not your typical bad boy. He has anger issues and has made some sad choices in the past. However, when we meet Colin he is well on his way to improving himself. He is impulsive and flawed and while I did not agree with everything Colin did, I held to the fact that his intentions are honorable. Thankfully, we see growth in this quiet, damaged hero. Colin is the type of character you will either like or struggle to find a connection to. Having a sensitive son who speaks few words, made it easy for me to identify with Colin, although I abhorred his violent nature.
Marie Sánchez recently suffered some trauma when a victim’s brother blamed her when the murderer was set free. She has recently moved back to her hometown and is lonely and deeply dissatisfied with her current employment situation. Maria was a bit of a contradiction at times. She is intelligent, educated and unwilling to settle, but sometimes she annoyed me with her behavior. Thankfully she was strong when it came to Colin and refused to shortchange herself.
Secondary characters included friends, family, and the law. They all added an interesting mix to the story. Friends and family grounded the characters and created normalcy against the suspenseful plot. A detective who hounds Colin provided tension. I worried he would royally screw up his chances. Questions of mental stability made our villain scary and unpredictable. Subtle threads of prejudice and preconceived conceptions were weaved throughout and gave the reader food for thought in a natural showing not telling way.
The romance while present was secondary to the intense action. I loved the slow-build but felt it got a little lost in the middle. Their connection felt realistic and I appreciated that they found growth from within because of their interaction.
Plot twists, action scenes and near death experiences ramped up the tension as the story progressed. Sparks added red herrings and clues along the way. For me the clues revealed things to quickly and made the tale predictable.
Christopher Ryan’s narration of Colin felt spot on and he handled the female voices equally well. His pacing was well done and I didn’t feel the urge to speed up the audio.
See Me was an interesting romantic suspense that leaned more towards a mystery thriller but was one I that I found entertaining.
I picked this one up without reading the synopsis, didn’t realise it was a departure from his usual. Not sure when I’ll get to it … if someone was raving about it, now that would change things lol
It was good, just not the truffling inducing read I expected.
I’ve never read a Sparks book, that I can remember anyway. I love a gruff hero, though!
I could see you enjoying this one Christy.
The Bibliophile Babe
Great review! Nice to see something a bit different from that author.
I like that he is trying something different.
This sounds really good, especially with him doing something a bit different. Wonderful review.
Thanks Angel. I had fun listening
Gave up on Sparks after The Last Song. It’s drove me to tears, but I got tired of the formula. Someone always dying and all that.
This just might renew my interest even if it’s not great. At least he tried to write outside his comfort zone so maybe his next attempt will be smoother.
This does not follow that formula at all.
This might be the perfect introduction to Spark’s novels for me. I love suspense, but have always been turned off by anything overtly sentimental. Thanks for the great review!
Yes it would be, while the characters are flawed and have issues it is definitely a departure from his previous works
I’ve heard wonderful things about this book and didn’t realize it was suspense. I’ve put off reading it because this author has such a signature event in all of his books and just haven’t been in the mood for it, but I’m always up for a thriller or romantic suspense.
Very different Kathy from his typical reads…I enjoyed it.
I like that it’s lighter on romance and focuses more on the mystery. Most of his books make me cry. Maybe this will have a happy ending or at least a satisfactory conclusion to the mystery. Glad you enjoyed it!
The ending was one that will please.
Melissa (Books and Things)
Suspense? Hm… now I’m curious. I tend to enjoy his movies, but not always the books. Now I’m curious and I can deal with predictable. Might have to try audio!
I love his movies too but haven’t picked up a book in almost a decade.
You are right, that does sound like a big departure for him. Not sure what I would think about a violent character-or one that can be violent. Sorry that you figured out the mystery too soon-I dislike that as well!
I struggle with anyone who has violent tendencies but we do see tremendous growth.
My younger daughter and I love to watch Nicholas Sparks movies together, and have watched almost all of them over the past few years. The Notebook and Safe Haven remain our faves 🙂
That being said, I’ve only read I think 3 of his books and they were good, not great, for me. I actually have this one on e-book, picked it up last week so I could share the story with my daughter who doesn’t read beyond school books. Thanks for a good review!
Rita I haven’t picked up one of his books in years, I too love the movies. This was very different and tissue free.
was it the same old sparks in the end? >.> you know what I mean?
No…not at all..shocker!
What? Sparks wrote a romantic suspense? I am curious now. I kind of gave up on him because his books were so predictable.
I was surprised Heidi. I have not read any of his books in almost ten years, we typically watch the movies
Thanks for the post. I read a lot of Sparks’ books and with this one being his latest, I was waiting for a review.
Anytime Angela it took me by surprise how very different it was, but I enjoyed it
I don’t usually love Sparks but since this is a different genre I may like this one much more a romantic suspense sounds more up my alley.
It is very different Candace.
This sounds really interesting, Kim. Colin is a different sort of hero for Sparks. I haven’t read one of his books for years. The last one was A Bend in The Road. However, I watch the Notebook every Valentine’s Day lol. Listening to the audio sample, I’m not sure I like the narrator’s voice. I will put the book on my TBR shelf (which is growing too high!).
It has been years since I picked up one of his books, but like you I love the movies. This is very different and was unexpected but enjoyable nonetheless.
Thanks for the great review Kim, Sparks is an author I tend to steer clear of because he’ll probably kill off one of these two in the sequel. Of course now that he divorced his wife of 30 years maybe he’s done with strictly romance.
This is standalone and not his typical fare at all.
It’s funny because I use to adore Sparks, heart breaking endings and all and lately I just haven’t been able to get into any of his books. The last two, maybe even three I have read have left me feeling blah about his work. I’m not sure this one will pull me out of my Sparks slump either which is really just too bad.
Glad this was a good read though.
It has been almost ten years since I read him last. I usually watch the movies 🙂
I haven’t read a Sparks novel in years, but I like the idea of one that is more suspense than romance…and a slow build between the characters is usually better for me, too.
Thanks for sharing!
I was the same, it has been at least 8 years.
It was enjoyable and very different from his typical fare.
Not an author I can say I’ve found particularly to my liking but I live in hope that I just haven’t found the right book by him … yet.
Great review, perhaps See Me will prove to be THE one.
It happens Tracy.
Tyler H. Jolley
Fun random fact, Nicholas Sparks is who inspired me to start writing. I saw him on Oprah when I was in dental school. Although free time was rare at that time, I started writing scenes that had been floating around in my head. His writing is really inspirational.
Thanks for sharing that Tyler and I had no idea you were a dentist. *backs away slowly* I am terrified of the dentist and have to take meds before going..
Tyler H. Jolley
Haha, I’m sorry to hear that you’re afraid of the dentist. I actually went on to do four more years of school and became an Orthodontist and Periodontist. So you don’t need to be afraid to come see me, but you might end up with braces 🙂
Very cool..I was luck not to need braces, my kids and hubby..not so much. When I was 13 a dentist slid the drill bit across my gums leaving a scar. He then lied to my parents and said I moved. Thankfully my parents knew I didn’t tell fibs and we found a new dentist. He was on the phone with his mother and not paying attention. I have a wonderful dentist, who is patient with me.
Tyler H. Jolley
Oh man, Kim, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I’m glad you’ve found a dentist and you feel comfortable with him.
I’m currently on the holds list for the audio book at my library. Hopefully, I will be listening to it soon.
Oh good, I will be curious to see your take on it Lekisha.
I’ve never read anything by Nicholas Sparks, mostly because his books always seem to end tragically and I’m an HEA kind of girl! A romantic suspense might work better for me though, and there’s no mention of a brutal ending emotionally, so this could be the place to start Kim!
Nope no tissues required 🙂
Not a tear-jerker?? *gasp* But I always preface a Sparks recommendation with a note that tissues will be required. 😉 See Me sounds good though. I like that there is more focus on the action and mystery as well as that the romance is slow-build. You have me curious despite the bumps in the story, Kimberly. 😀
It was enjoyable, and I am glad I listened Brandee.
I definitely don’t associate Sparks with suspense so this has me intrigued. It sounds like one I’d enjoy on audio.
It is very different Katherine, but enjoyable
nicely done, i do like the whole effort
Thanks Ailyn. Have a great day!
Ok, I was surprised by the blurb. The hero has a violent background, went to prison, and yet is working towards a teaching degree? You have to pass an FBI background check to be a teacher! Clearly this book is not for me – I could never suspend disbelief enough to enjoy it, lol!
Not quite what you think. it says ” threat of prison”
I have actually never read a Sparks novel, but I have seen several movies (that made me cry) based on his books. I think it’s great that See Me is different from his usual, and maybe I’ll pick this one up to see what I think of his writing 🙂
Great review, Kim!
Have a wonderful week and happy reading.
I use to read them all the time, then switched to watching the movies.
Probably not my type of book but thanks for the review.
Thanks Mary 🙂
They are always so sad in the end…
This was very different..more romantic suspense with heavier suspense aspects
i’ts nice when the romance is behind like that and evolves little by little. It sounds like an interesting one mainly with 2 damaged heros.
I agree, and this was so different from his usual fair.